Shelby County is located in the geographic center of Alabama, and is the county directly south of Birmingham, the state's largest city. The terrain ranges from mountainous and hilly to flat farmlands. The county is bounded by the Cahaba River to the north and the Coosa River to the east.
The Shelby County market is among the fastest growing in Alabama. While Shelby County is very much a bedroom community for many people working in Birmingham, businesses continue to relocate to the county to take advantage of a highly educated and skilled workforce. Shelby County routinely boasts Alabama's lowest unemployment rate.
2008 Census estimates put the county's population at 187,784, making it the fastest growing county in Alabama and among the fastest growing counties in the United States. Long-range estimates indicate that the county could have more than 300,000 residents by the year 2030.
Shelby County experiences a typical Southern climate with warm, humid
summers and mild winters.
Some of the larger employers in Shelby County include the Shelby County School System, EBSCO Industries, Regions Bank, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Southern Company, the University of Montevallo and BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama. The lime and cement industry also has a large presence in the county, employing thousands of people across dozens of companies.
Shelby County is served by two public school systems.
The Shelby County School System, with the central office located in Columbiana, is among the state's largest and most respected school systems. The system has 41 schools in all corners of the county, with nearly 28,000 students, 2,100 professional employees and 1,400 support employees.
The Hoover City School System serves the city of Hoover, which is partially located in Shelby County. Of the system's 17 schools, four are located in Shelby County. The Hoover system is also regarded as one of the best in Alabama.
Shelby County is home to Alabama's only public liberal arts university, the University of Montevallo, home to more than 3,000 students.
Jefferson State Community College, a 2-year college, has a campus in North Shelby County that is the largest of its four campuses.
Numerous other colleges and universities offer classes in Shelby County, including Central Alabama Community College, Faulkner University, Southeastern Bible College and ITT Technical Institute.
There are many highly regarded private schools in Shelby County as well, including Indian Springs School, Briarwood Christian School, Kingwood Christian School, Cornerstone Christian School, Coosa Valley Academy and others.
Shelby County was created by an act of the Mississippi Territorial General Assembly on February 7, 1817. It is named for Isaac Shelby, a Revolutionary War soldier and a governor of Kentucky.
The county experienced modest growth through much of its history, with much of its growth coming in the past twenty years as the Birmingham area has grown.
Located in the Birmingham MSA, Shelby Countians enjoy a wealth of cultural opportunities in and around Birmingham. Many cultural groups in Birmingham actively reach out to Shelby County to offer its residents even more opportunities.
Local cultural attractions include the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera, the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Pelham, the American Village in Montevallo and the Harrison Museum of George Washington in Columbiana.
Shelby County has many natural wonders, creating ample recreational opportunities for its citizens. Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama's largest state park, covers more than 9900 acres in the center of the county, offering hiking, fishing, camping, golf and boating.
Many outfitters offer rafting and boating along the Cahaba River, and Lay Lake, along the county's eastern border, is home to some of the best bass fishing in the country and is a regular stop along the Bassmasters Tour.
There are nearly 20 golf courses in Shelby County, some of which are among the best-rated courses in Alabama and the Southeast.
There is a state-of-the-art racquet club in Pelham, many soccer clubs, dozens of youth sporting leagues and many biking trails in the county as well.
Shelby County is home to five chambers of commerce:
Calera Chamber of Commerce
Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce
Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce
Montevallo Chamber of Commerce
South Shelby Chamber of Commerce
The Shelby County Tourism Board is a good resource for visitors and newcomers.
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